Wednesday, December 14, 2011
2011 Album of the Year
I'll admit, right out the gate, that this selection leaves me with a bit of a bitter taste in my mouth. The reason being that my music listening year seems so incomplete this time around. The fact that I still haven't had a chance to get in a full listen of Mastodon's The Hunter, let alone the ten plus listens I prefer before giving something a review really sticks in my craw. In many ways, this selection feels almost like a default selection.
Sure, it is a new album from my favorite band, but I can't exactly say that I love this album, so that sorta takes away from the whole Album of the Year thing. Which is strange because in terms of volume, I listened to a lot of new* music this year. (*Not necessarily a 2011 release, but new to my ears.) I delved into Amon Amarth's back stock of albums, dabbled in the melodic crunchiness of Baroness and Kylesa, journeyed to the dark lands of Black Metal with Immortal by my side and even explored the rock genre with The Black Keys. Despite all that, I didn't exactly discover anything that'll be getting steady play in my stereo.
So suffice it to say that this was a down year for me in terms of music.
So was Heritage a great album? Is it worthy of such exalted status? Well, my review wasn't exactly favorable, but that was based more on terms of how I liked it in comparison to the rest of Opeth's output rather than it's individual merits. All told, the album is quite good. The music is beautiful, and expertly crafted. Heritage has an appeal to non-metal music listeners as well as long time fans of the band, so in many ways this album is very much worthy of high praise and the lofty title as Battle Hymns' Album of the Year. And, for better or worse, whether I like the results or not, it is still the best piece of new music I listened to this year. So there you go.
By the way, if you aren't a fan of Opeth, you really should listen to their stuff. It is wonderful. Well, that's my album of the year. Aside from the Mastodon album, were there other glaring oversites? What was your favorite album of the year?